I've been working on this whole "teach myself how to cook everything" thing for about 6 months now and it has become a huge part of my life. I've grown to look at food as more of an art than just something to eat. I'm always working out my next recipe to conquer and the learning process needed. I love it. I've been working on finding my "Zen state" so-to-say in the kitchen, bringing myself to having to ultimate comfort zone. So far I've been able to narrow it down to dim lighting and Miles Davis radio randomly enough. '60's jazz seems to put me in a trance and immediately relax me. An added glass of Pinot Grigio doesn't hurt either.
It's probably time I get a salad up, even if it's not a "classic" one. I wanted to post this one to share how lovely the colors of food can be. Also because it's pretty damn tasty. For those who haven't yet had endive, it's like lettuce but surprisingly in the daisy family. I first made it for my boyfriend's family and the 3 of them battled which flavor was their favorite in their heads. The votes were honestly split into half. (My favorite is the apricot chive) I came up with the idea by trying to create my ideal salad flavors in a compacted form. I wanted to make (as I would call) a flavor blast of savory and sweet. Onions, and cheese, and fruits.. ahhhh! Living in Washington we get a large variety of apples, after learning the hierarchy it would be unacceptable for me not to use the always superior honeycrisp. So good.
My friend Alyson was talking to me about her thoughts on how men love single serving foods they can pick up and eat. Not having to pull out a knife or scrape it out with a spoon, they love to grab-and-go. She's right. Honestly, I think most people are like that or at least I am. I definitely enjoy a meal that consists of finger foods, it's like a personal-pan pot luck and I'm the #1 fan of pot lucks. It's always interesting seeing what people choose to bring: chips, brownie bites from the grocery, then the more creative few who craft their favorite side dishes. I sit here typing this with the background noise of my boyfriend playing Dead Island. Writing about the beautiful side of food with the sound of a zombie getting his torso ripped off by a lead pipe is both challenging and distracting. Wouldn't have it any other way.
Apricot Chive Endive Salad
1 Belgian endive
8oz reduced-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
In a medium bowl whip cream cheese with a hand mixer, scrape down with a spatula. Mince chives and fold into whipped cream cheese, place in fridge for 15 minutes. Clean the endive then slice the bottom off and pull apart individual leaves. Cut dried apricots each into fours, mince yellow onion. Either use a knife to spread equivalent amounts of the cream cheese mixture, or put into a pastry bag and pipe it onto the endive leaves. Place 4 of the cut up apricot into each leaf then sprinkle minced onion.
Apple Walnut Endive Salad
1 Belgian endive
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1/4 cup sliced honeycrisp apple
1/4 cup minced golden delicious apple
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Clean the endive then slice the bottom off and pull apart individual leaves. Slice honeycrisp apples, mince golden delicious, and chop walnuts. Sprinkle a teaspoons worth of crumbled Gorgonzola into the endive leaves. Put 1 slice of honeycrisp and 1/2 teaspoons worth of minced golden delicious. Sprinkle walnuts in each leaf.